Causeway U-Turn Reopened, Daily Closures Likely to Care for New Plantings

Bonnet Sidewalk Access to Open This Month
By Gina G. Scala | Aug 06, 2019
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

Stafford Township — The U-turn area east of the Causeway Bridge reopened last weekend, two weeks ahead of schedule, according to state Department of Transportation officials.

George Harms Construction Co., the DOT contractor for the $312 million federally funded rehab and expansion of the Causeway to Long Beach Island, completed the re-striping and barrier removal on Friday, Aug. 2. The completed work allows the reopening of the left lane in each direction between the main Causeway bridges and the West Thorofare Bridges and the center median U-turn on Bonnet Island.

Located near the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge Environmental Trail, the U-turn has been closed for drainage work since February.

DOT officials said the U-turn could close weekdays from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to allow for the watering of new plantings along the upper perimeter of the drainage basins for the next eight weeks. The U-turns will be accessible nightly and on weekends.

The drainage work is to prevent erosion along the banks by installing inlets and curbs around the perimeter of the basin, DOT officials have said. New planting along the pond slopes will also prevent erosion.

Additionally, the sidewalk from Stafford Township across the Causeway bridge system to Ship Bottom, the gateway community to Long Beach Island, should reopen in the next week or so after the barriers have been set in place. State officials said the barriers will create a safe walking area in the section until the permanent sidewalks on Bonnet Island are completed. DOT officials expect the remaining section of sidewalk to be completed by the end of summer.

At some point later this week or next, the temporary shuttle service to and from Long Beach Island that accommodates pedestrians will be discontinued, transportation officials said.

The Causeway project began in 2013 and is expected to continue through 2021. The 3-mile-long causeway links Stafford on the mainland with Ship Bottom on the Island. As part of the project, a new bridge was constructed parallel to the existing one over Manahawkin Bay, providing the safety of a redundant route on or off the island. The new bridge is carrying two lanes of eastbound traffic, while the rehabilitated original bridge is carrying two lanes of westbound traffic.

The precise timing of the work is subject to change due to weather or other factors. Motorists are encouraged to check the DOT’s traffic information website, 511nj.org, for construction updates and real-time travel information, and for DOT news on Twitter @NJDOT_info.

— Gina G. Scala

ggscala@thesandpaper.net

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